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Overview

The Theme of the Second Conclave is “Evaluation for Development” emphasizing that evaluation should ultimately make a difference in the lives of people. 

Evaluation is particularly critical in the context of South Asia, home to complex social structures, high rates of poverty, gender discrimination, dynamic forces of globalization sweeping traditional societies and numerous development projects for the large populations of this region. Innovative evaluation approaches and practices are particularly important in such complex contexts.

Though our focus is on the situation in South Asia, we will include broader experiences where comparative learning and lessons are offered.  

There are many reasons for which evaluations are commissioned – for accountability, for learning, to understand what works and what doesn’t, for utilization and influence.  These are not mutually exclusive and indicate the varied potential uses and value of evaluation. The theme ‘Evaluation for Development’ hopes to draw out and share innovations in methods, approaches, capacity building and use with a special focus on the participation of civil society, local institutions and persons who are affected by the various projects being evaluated.

The Conclave hopes to provide a platform and encourages South Asian evaluators as well as others to share and learn from each other and contribute to evaluation field building in the region.

Crosscutting Themes:

Specifically, the Conclave will address issues of Participation, Practices, Policies and Utilization.

Participation in evaluation will reflect on who is evaluation for, who benefits, who participates and why. Participatory and social accountability approaches have a vibrant history in South Asia, and have high relevance given the extent of social and economic divisions and disparities. What are the rights and responsibilities of various stakeholders – beneficiaries, donors, govt., commissioners of evaluation, civil society and evaluators – in development evaluation? How can evaluations address human rights - tribal rights, socially marginalized people rights, gender rights, child rights, transgender rights? 

What ethical frameworks are essential while addressing a rights based approach to evaluation?

Practices in evaluation questions the many ways evaluation is carried out. How is evaluation practiced and used especially in this region?  What are innovative approaches, methods and tools that have been implemented that are examples of good practice?  What is the history of communities of practice for evaluation, and lessons for their success?  What role can evaluation networks and evaluation field building play? How do we develop an evaluation culture and demystify evaluation? How can evaluations ensure social accountability? What are the capacity building approaches and lessons for South Asia.

Evaluation for and of Policies are important areas of learning. What is the policy environment for the use or non-use of evaluation? How are evaluations used for informing decision making, institutional learning and programming innovations? Do national policies on evaluation contribute to the discourse and do they matter? How do you work for or with the government to be a game changer for evaluation use? How can demand be generated for more evidence based use of evaluation for programs and policies? Evaluation oversight, meta-evaluations and an environment culture shape decision making and policy change as do the socio-political contexts in which policies are shaped – what lessons can be learned that could be applied to South Asia? 

Utilization specifically addresses concerns, approaches and experiences regarding utilization of evaluation. What are the roadblocks and possible areas of influence? What capacities, resources and approaches are needed by evaluators to ensure use and what is the impact on change and development? What types, methods and tools support the utilization of evaluations? What has been the impact of evaluations in the region?

Suggested Content Areas:

Gender: Persistent inequities in the region, caste and class cleavages and gender discrimination challenge evaluation efforts. What methods and tools have been used to address gender issues? What is the role of feminist evaluations and what is its influence in such contexts? 

Environment: Evaluation of climate change (both adaptation and mitigation), agriculture and environment (environmental justice and governance) are important areas for evaluation in the region and especially as it cross-cuts with poverty, food security and gender issues. Evaluation concerns for emergencies, disasters and natural calamities warrant special attention – what have we learned about timely, relevant and efficient evaluations that help to improve programs and provide future directions? What evaluation practices have worked and what have not? What evaluative capacities are needed for such evaluations and how do we build it?

Poverty: Home to one of the largest populations of poor persons, numerous evaluations related to health, livelihood, economic security, food security have been commissioned in the region. What approaches, methods and tools have been used and what are their comparative advantages? What are some of the innovative ways and methodologies to measure poverty and influence decision making? What is being measured and what is not? How has evaluation contributed to understanding how poverty could be alleviated?